Irish Water Safety chief gives advice to those planning 'Christmas swim'

Irish Water Safety chief gives advice to those planning 'Christmas swim'
John Leech, Irish Water Safety. Photo: Boyd Challenger

The chief executive of Irish Water Safety has offered advice to people planning a Christmas swim tomorrow.

John Leech told RTE’s Morning Ireland that with the good weather forecast for Christmas Day it is expected that many people will participate in charity swims around the country in rivers, lakes and the sea.

However, he warned that freshwater is colder than the sea so anyone contemplating swimming in a river or lake should keep their swim very short.

Get in, get out quickly, get warm,” he said.

He also suggested that swimmers should enter the water gradually and should splash water on the back of their neck. He cautioned swimmers to be careful when walking on slipways.

Swimmers should stay in their depth so that if they become dizzy or get a cramp they can easily wade from the water.

“It is not a good idea to jump or dive in because of the danger of cold water shock.”

Mr Leech also advised not to drink before swimming as alcohol increases the heart rate which, when combined with the cold water could cause cramp or panic.

When swimmers get out of the water after their swim they should warm up quickly to avoid hypothermia. “Don’t stand around chatting in your togs”.

He said he would encourage people to participate in a Christmas swim as there are fantastic health benefits.

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